1. I will never call myself a ‘cancer survivor’ because I think it devalues those who do not survive. There’s this whole mythology that people bravely battle their cancer and then they become ‘survivors.’ Well, the ones who don’t survive may be just as brave, just as courageous, wonderful people and I don’t feel that I have any leg up on them.

    — Barbara Ehrenreich 

  2. cancer

    breast cancer

    barbara ehrenreich

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  1. 
"The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day."

Writer Peter Matthiessen from his 1978 book, The Snow Leopard 

Matthiessen was a award-winning novelist, naturalist, and zen Buddhist. You can hear Terry’s 1989 interview with him here. 
He passed away at April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. 

via jorge martinez View in High-Res

    "The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day."

    Writer Peter Matthiessen from his 1978 book, The Snow Leopard 

    Matthiessen was a award-winning novelist, naturalist, and zen Buddhist. You can hear Terry’s 1989 interview with him here. 

    He passed away at April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. 

    via jorge martinez

  2. peter matthiessen

    zen buddhism

    writing

    obit

    death

    LSD

  1. In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toíbín imagines Mary’s life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son’s fate.
Imagining such violent events as the crucifixion, he says, “is really, really serious work. In other words, you have to go in and pretend … it’s happening now and go into absolute detail, so you’re almost working in the same way maybe a painter is working … [except] that it’s occurring word by word, sentence by sentence.”

You can hear Toíbín’s full interview here
The novel is now out in paperback.


image: Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. Photograph: Mauro Magliani/Alinari Archives/Corbis via guardian

    In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toíbín imagines Mary’s life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son’s fate.

    Imagining such violent events as the crucifixion, he says, “is really, really serious work. In other words, you have to go in and pretend … it’s happening now and go into absolute detail, so you’re almost working in the same way maybe a painter is working … [except] that it’s occurring word by word, sentence by sentence.”

    You can hear Toíbín’s full interview here

    The novel is now out in paperback.

    image: Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. Photograph: Mauro Magliani/Alinari Archives/Corbis via guardian

  2. jesus

    mary

    the testament of mary

    colm toibin

    religion

    fiction

    writing

    books

  1. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews “The Trip to Echo Spring" by Olivia Laing. It’s part memoir, part history about the connection between writing and drinking:

Olivia Laing, wisely, doesn’t reach any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle. Some of her writers drink, it seems, to quell panic and self-disgust; others as a stimulant; others for who-knows-what reason. And, though she’s a marvelous writer herself, Laing sticks to her original premise that alcoholic writers are the most eloquent chroniclers of their own addiction. In that spirit then, I’ll let poet John Berryman have the last word on the awful alliance between drinking and writing. This is a stanza that Laing quotes from Berryman’s “Dream Songs”:
Hunger was constitutional with him, wine, cigarettes, liquor, need need needUntil he went to pieces.The pieces sat up & wrote.


Photo of Ernest Hemingway pouring a glass View in High-Res

    Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews “The Trip to Echo Spring" by Olivia Laing. It’s part memoir, part history about the connection between writing and drinking:

    Olivia Laing, wisely, doesn’t reach any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle. Some of her writers drink, it seems, to quell panic and self-disgust; others as a stimulant; others for who-knows-what reason. And, though she’s a marvelous writer herself, Laing sticks to her original premise that alcoholic writers are the most eloquent chroniclers of their own addiction. In that spirit then, I’ll let poet John Berryman have the last word on the awful alliance between drinking and writing. This is a stanza that Laing quotes from Berryman’s “Dream Songs”:

    Hunger was constitutional with him,
    wine, cigarettes, liquor, need need need
    Until he went to pieces.
    The pieces sat up & wrote.

    Photo of Ernest Hemingway pouring a glass

  2. review

    maureen corrigan

    the trip to echo spring

    olivia laing

    drinking

    writing

    alcohol

    john berryman

  1. Delia Ephron tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the formative experience of her family’s dinner table in her early childhood. It’s where she learned she could be a writer:

I think everything started at the dinner table in my family. I’ve always wondered about the dinner table in everyone’s family because of it. When I was young … we always had dinner together and we told stories. Whatever crazy thing had happened to me that day I would come home and say it and my father would shout, “That’s a great line! Write it down.” And he would say, “That’s a great title. Write it down,” if I said anything that sounded like a title. I had titles for things before I had any idea I’d be a writer. And we sang songs, we sang rounds, we played charades and 20 questions.
My parents … had this radical past. Here we were in Beverly Hills in this fairly large Spanish house … all having dinner that my mother had not cooked. She was very proud of the fact that she had made a lot of money and someone else cooked dinner. So there we were singing union songs. They taught us, “There Once Was a Union Maid.” And they taught us “We Shall Not Be Moved.” And we would belt them out. … I think that’s where I learned I knew how to tell a story. That’s where I learned I was funny and that it was worth something.


Delia Ephron’s book is called Sister Husband Mother Dog: Etc. View in High-Res

    Delia Ephron tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the formative experience of her family’s dinner table in her early childhood. It’s where she learned she could be a writer:

    I think everything started at the dinner table in my family. I’ve always wondered about the dinner table in everyone’s family because of it. When I was young … we always had dinner together and we told stories. Whatever crazy thing had happened to me that day I would come home and say it and my father would shout, “That’s a great line! Write it down.” And he would say, “That’s a great title. Write it down,” if I said anything that sounded like a title. I had titles for things before I had any idea I’d be a writer. And we sang songs, we sang rounds, we played charades and 20 questions.

    My parents … had this radical past. Here we were in Beverly Hills in this fairly large Spanish house … all having dinner that my mother had not cooked. She was very proud of the fact that she had made a lot of money and someone else cooked dinner. So there we were singing union songs. They taught us, “There Once Was a Union Maid.” And they taught us “We Shall Not Be Moved.” And we would belt them out. … I think that’s where I learned I knew how to tell a story. That’s where I learned I was funny and that it was worth something.

    Delia Ephron’s book is called Sister Husband Mother Dog: Etc.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    delia ephron

    nora ephron

    family

    sisters

    writing

  1. Today we remember Nobel-Prize winning British author Doris Lessing by revisiting our interviews with her from 1988 and 1992. Lessing published more than 50 books, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir.
She passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 94.


via Nobel Prize

    Today we remember Nobel-Prize winning British author Doris Lessing by revisiting our interviews with her from 1988 and 1992. Lessing published more than 50 books, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir.

    She passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 94.

    via Nobel Prize

  2. fresh air

    doris lessing

    nobel prize

    writing

  1. There’s the you that you present to the world, and then there’s, you know, of course the real one and, if you’re lucky, there’s not a huge difference between those two people. And I guess in my diary I’m not afraid to be boring. It’s not my job to entertain anyone in my diary.

    —  Humorist writer David Sedaris is on Fresh Air today to talk about public and private life and his newest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.”

  2. fresh air

    david sedaris

    let's explore diabetes with owls

    humorist essay

    writing

    interview

  1. Heisenbird.

Terry’s dear friend, Paula, took this photo of her “baby blue” parakeet, Willie, and dressed it up a bit. We loved it so much that we just had to share it with you.

Here’s a link to yesterday’s Fresh Air interview with Breaking Bad writers Thomas Schnauz and Peter Gould.  Enjoy. 
Photo courtesy of Paula Randolph

    Heisenbird.

    Terry’s dear friend, Paula, took this photo of her “baby blue” parakeet, Willie, and dressed it up a bit. We loved it so much that we just had to share it with you.

    Here’s a link to yesterday’s Fresh Air interview with Breaking Bad writers Thomas Schnauz and Peter Gould.  Enjoy. 

    Photo courtesy of Paula Randolph

  2. Breaking Bad

    writers

    writing

    Fresh Air

    Heisenbird

  1. National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

 I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.


image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk View in High-Res

    National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

     I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.

    image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk

  2. fresh air

    interview

    jesmyn ward

    men we reaped

    national book award

    memoir

    death

    loss

    writing

  1. I always believed that whatever had to be written would somehow get itself written.

    — Seamus Heaney

  2. seamus heaney

    rest in peace

    writing

    poetry

  1. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

    — 

    Our favorite rule in Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing.


    Mr. Leonard died this morning at the age of 87. 

  2. elmore leonard

    rules of writing

    writing

    authors

    fresh air

  1. Stephen King talks to Terry Gross about whether his writing changed after being hit by a car and getting addicted to Oxycontin, a habit which he has since kicked:

When I said that I wasn’t going to write or when I was going to retire, I was doing a lot of Oxycontin for pain and I was still having a lot of pain and it’s a depressive drug anyway and I was kind of a depressed human being because the therapy was painful. The recovery was slow and the whole thing just seemed like too much work, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll concentrate on getting better and I probably won’t want to write anymore,’ but as health and vitality came back, the urge to write came back. But here’s the thing: I’m on the inside and I’m not the best person to ask if my writing changed after that accident. I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know that … was close, that was really being close to stepping out. The accident and, a couple years later I had double pneumonia and that was close to stepping out of this life as well, and I think you have a couple of close brushes with death like that, it probably has [effect]. Somebody said, ‘The prospect of imminent death has a wonderful clarifying effect on the mind,’ and I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think it cause some changes, some evolution in the way a person works, but on a day-by-day basis I just still enjoy doing what I’m doing.


Image of Stephen King by PILGRIM via Wired View in High-Res

    Stephen King talks to Terry Gross about whether his writing changed after being hit by a car and getting addicted to Oxycontin, a habit which he has since kicked:

    When I said that I wasn’t going to write or when I was going to retire, I was doing a lot of Oxycontin for pain and I was still having a lot of pain and it’s a depressive drug anyway and I was kind of a depressed human being because the therapy was painful. The recovery was slow and the whole thing just seemed like too much work, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll concentrate on getting better and I probably won’t want to write anymore,’ but as health and vitality came back, the urge to write came back. But here’s the thing: I’m on the inside and I’m not the best person to ask if my writing changed after that accident. I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know that … was close, that was really being close to stepping out. The accident and, a couple years later I had double pneumonia and that was close to stepping out of this life as well, and I think you have a couple of close brushes with death like that, it probably has [effect]. Somebody said, ‘The prospect of imminent death has a wonderful clarifying effect on the mind,’ and I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think it cause some changes, some evolution in the way a person works, but on a day-by-day basis I just still enjoy doing what I’m doing.

    Image of Stephen King by PILGRIM via Wired

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Stephen King

    Joyland

    Wired

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  1. Tom Wolfe on his sociological approach to writing:

This attention to status … started when I was in graduate school and I was in a program called American Studies, which was a mixture of different disciplines but one [in which] you were forced to take sociology. I had always looked down on sociology as this arriviste discipline that didn’t have the noble history of English and history as a subject. But once I had a little exposure to it, I said, ‘Hey, here’s the key. Here’s the key to understanding life and all its forms.’ And the great theorist or status theorist was a German named Max Weber. And from that time on, I said this obviously is the way to analyze people in all of their manifestations. I mean, my theory is that every moment — even when you’re by yourself in the bathroom, you are trying to live up to certain status requirements as if someone were watching … It’s only when your life is in danger that you drop all that.
View in High-Res

    Tom Wolfe on his sociological approach to writing:

    This attention to status … started when I was in graduate school and I was in a program called American Studies, which was a mixture of different disciplines but one [in which] you were forced to take sociology. I had always looked down on sociology as this arriviste discipline that didn’t have the noble history of English and history as a subject. But once I had a little exposure to it, I said, ‘Hey, here’s the key. Here’s the key to understanding life and all its forms.’ And the great theorist or status theorist was a German named Max Weber. And from that time on, I said this obviously is the way to analyze people in all of their manifestations. I mean, my theory is that every moment — even when you’re by yourself in the bathroom, you are trying to live up to certain status requirements as if someone were watching … It’s only when your life is in danger that you drop all that.

  2. Tom Wolfe

    writing

    sociology

  1. Paul Thomas Anderson on how to break through writer’s block

The best way for me to start writing a story is to get two characters talking to each other. And if you got questions from one, you’re gonna have to get answers from the other, and you can start to find out who is coming out of you when you’re writing,

    Paul Thomas Anderson on how to break through writer’s block

    The best way for me to start writing a story is to get two characters talking to each other. And if you got questions from one, you’re gonna have to get answers from the other, and you can start to find out who is coming out of you when you’re writing,

  2. Paul Thomas Anderson

    writer's block

    writing

  1. All of the qualities that you need to be a good opinion columnist tend to be qualities that aren’t valued in women.

    — Anna Quindlen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992, on today’s Fresh Air.

  2. writing

    women

    anna quindlen